FILM 1381: A FEW GOOD MEN
TRIVIA: The original play was inspired by an actual Code Red at Guantanamo Bay. Lance Corporal David Cox and 9 other enlisted men tied up a fellow Marine and severely beat him, for snitching to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Cox was acquitted and later Honorably Discharged. In 1994, David Cox mysteriously vanished, and his bullet-riddled body was found three months later. His murder remains unsolved.
The movie's line "You can't handle the truth!" was voted as the #29 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).
Tom Cruise's Jack Nicholson impersonation (when his character is quoting Col. Jessep) was not scripted.
Jack Nicholson repeated his famous courtroom monologue as Col. Jessep off-camera several times so Rob Reiner could film the reactions of other actors from various angles. Nicholson's memorable on-camera performance was filmed last, but according to Reiner and the other cast members, Nicholson gave it his all every take as if he was on camera.
Screenwriter William Goldman did an uncredited re-write of the screenplay. Aaron Sorkin was so impressed by Goldman's new dialog (as well as changes that tightened the story) that he re-wrote and re-published the play to incorporate the changes.
Writer Aaron Sorkin got the story idea from his sister, who in real life experienced a very similar incident at Guantanamo from the "Lt. Cdr. Galloway" perspective as a female JAG attorney. In that incident, the victim was similarly assaulted by nine Marines and was badly injured, but did not die. Sorkin initially turned the idea into a play, and then this screenplay, which was his very first.
COL Jessep warns LT Kendrick that Santiago needs to score "4646" on his next Proficiency and Conduct report. Jessep is referring to a system by which the performance of enlisted men is rated on a scale from 0.0 to 5.0; a score of 4.6 corresponds to a rating of "Excellent".
The word "sir" is used 164 times during the movie. That's an average of once every 50 seconds.
The title for the play and film came from a long-running recruiting campaign for the U.S. Marine Corps, "We're looking for a few good men." The campaign was slowly phased out through the 1980s with the well-known, "The Few. The Proud. The Marines."